Praxis PR to test four-day work week

Toronto PR shop Praxis will shift to a four-day work week starting in October, part of a six-month pilot program by the non-profit research group 4 Day Week Global.

In a blog post explaining the change, associate partner and general manager Matt Juniper said that agency staff will not be asked to work longer days, and will still receive full compensation. “We’re simply learning to work smarter, not longer,” he wrote.

Allowing staff to work four days a week is an investment in their wellbeing that will translate into happier, healthier employees and higher job satisfaction, he said.

“We believe this improved work-life balance will result in a more energized and productive team, with heightened creativity and sharpened problem-solving skills, ready to bring the best of themselves to their work.”

Interest in four-day work weeks rose during the pandemic, which challenged many entrenched notions of how, where and when work can be done. Employers saw that worker productivity did not require time in the office under manager supervision.

However, that flexibility did little to address concerns about overload and burnout, leading more employers and governments to explore 32-hour week scenarios.

“The 5 day week is simply outmoded, a relic of a now distant era,” according to 4 Day Week. “It persists because it is mistakenly believed to be optimal for the economy. It isn’t. The 4 day week has proven to deliver as much, if not more, productivity while improving lives: individuals, families, and entire communities

Praxis will be working with clients and other partners to ensure its maintains the same service levels being delivered in a five-day model.

“In fact, true success would mean that no one notices a difference, or even better, we score higher on client performance metrics,” said Juniper in the blog post.

“Praxis will be adopting a ‘Friday/Monday model,’ meaning that about half of our staff will be designated to have Fridays off, and half of the team will have Mondays off,” Juniper told The Message. “By doing so, each of our clients will have full coverage and always have access to our teams.”

He also said that Praxis employees have been participating in training to help identify and reduce inefficiencies and maximize productivity. “The key to success is to make each day as productive as possible, and in so doing, there should be no drop in client service,” he said.

The pilot program will run through March, at which point Praxis will assess the results before determining if it can make permanent changes.

David Brown